Frequently, many individuals associate the symptoms of chronic allergies with typical findings, such as runny nose, watery eyes, scratchy throat, and sinus congestion. However, for many, these occasionally chronic symptoms can be more vague and seem unrelated. Symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, irritable bowel, bloating, fatigue, brain fog, migratory skin rashes, slower metabolic rate, and even weight gain can all be subliminal symptoms of chronic or seasonally exacerbated allergies. With a warmer winter and an early spring, the environmental allergies can be more problematic exacerbators, especially in those prone to experience seasonal allergic complications.
While over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines can be effective for some, the side effects can be more difficult to tolerate in terms of the ongoing lethargy and fatigue often induced by antihistamines. Frequently the standard preparations are less efficacious in their overall clinical results. For that reason, many individuals actually do very well using herbal or natural antihistamine remedies. Herbal combinations which contain quercetin and nettle extract, in addition to ascorbic acid or vitamin C, can often be very helpful in symptom regulation, and this occurs without the sedating side effects.
The naturally occurring bioflavonoid, quercetin, has several decades of clinical studies showing its efficacy as a natural antihistamine. Studies published as early as 1951 in the Annals of Allergy used quercetin supplements to control allergy symptoms. Quercetin also has been shown in clinical studies to help with normalization of the GI ecology, as well as with stabilization of blood pressure, especially in those with elevated blood pressure. Quercetin in general tends to help energy levels in many individuals who suffer chronic fatigue tendency. As a matter of fact, quercetin has been used in some popular energy-enhancing drinks.
In our office, a supplement we use, called AllerVene, contains the essential array of these recommended nutrients, and doses of 1-2 capsules twice daily seem to provide very good symptom relief. On occasion, when symptoms are more problematic, using a higher dose, especially in the seasonal time frame of 2-3 capsules twice daily may sometimes be required. Generally, in my experience, these preparations can often be as effective if not more so than many prescription options without the usual side effects. Certain homeopathic remedies, as well, can be very helpful, especially, in the acute management of symptoms. Remedies such as “Histimin” used as an oral sublingual lozenge can be helpful in reducing the allergic symptoms.
The diagnostic component and contributors in an ancillary arena are important, as well. Many people, for example, with chronic allergies will also have alterations in the normal GI flora, especially individuals who have been given antibiotic therapy at any point in the past can have a decreased level of friendly bacteria (probiotics) in the GI tract. Often, using supplemental forms of probiotics in therapeutic amounts can stabilize immune system competency in allergy and immune function. Studies have shown that it can take almost two years for the GI tract to re-stabilize its ecology even after only one round of antibiotics. The population of probiotic bacteria in the GI tract are essential to the maintenance of human health in that these organisms regulate digestive function, enzymatic biosynthesis, synthesis of some vitamins, absorption, maintenance of the immune system, stabilization of neurotransmitters, support of environmental detoxification, and hormone balance.
When in doubt, some individuals would benefit from doing a stool test that actually measures the essential probiotic ecology of the digestive tract. Not infrequently, abnormal organisms which have established an opportunistic niche are found, such as yeast forms and occasionally even parasites. When these organisms are diagnosed and treated, very often many other chronic symptoms tend to improve, including inflammatory conditions, immunologic imbalances, and even allergies.
In regard to the food allergy contribution, when in doubt, blood tests can be ordered measuring food allergy IgG panels that can give greater precision in terms of the degree of reactivity of certain foods. While those measure immunologic reactions, some people can still have sensitivities to other foods that are not created by the immune system but, nonetheless, by virtue of their unique biochemistry, can have an adverse symptomatic effect on those consuming them. Therefore, paying attention to individual sensitivities can be extremely important, as well.
What has become more evident over the years in the course of medical research is that the maintenance and balance of the immune system are core requisites in maintaining overall health and energy production, and there exist several tools diagnostically and therapeutically to gain clear clinical understanding and help evolve people to a better state of immunologic wellness and more robust energy.
– Dr. Guyer